Price Check! Here’s What Sold—and for How Much—at the Online Editions of the Dallas Art Fair, Art Basel Hong Kong, and David Zwirner’s ‘Platform’
We’ve adapted our art-fair sales column for our new virtual world.
Conventional wisdom has it that there is no such thing as “the art market”—only many mini-markets with overlapping clientele. But over the past two months, all of these markets have collapsed into one: the big convention center in the sky, also known as… the Internet.
Here, the Dallas Art Fair, Art Basel Hong Kong, and David Zwirner’s new “Platform” initiative for smaller galleries in New York and London have all been testing the waters to see what a jittery market will bear and what sort of material moves in this new paradigm. So we’ve adapted our traditional “Price Check!” art-fair column for this moment accordingly.
The good news: most dealers seem to agree that online sales are most effective when prices are listed, so price transparency is growing. The bad news: it’s still not always clear how much is selling—and, for that matter, whether those who are buying will actually come through with the cash.
Nevertheless, prices provide a snapshot of where individual artists stand in the matrix of the art market today. (We did not include reported sales unaccompanied by a price or price range in our list, so the galleries that tend to disclose figures are disproportionately represented here.) And it’s helpful to know that for some galleries, on some level, some works are indeed selling.
To find out exactly what, and for how much, read on.
DALLAS ART FAIR
Although the digital edition of the Dallas Art Fair, which closed on April 23, stayed south of the loftiest sales heights achieved at Art Basel’s inaugural online-sales effort—most exhibitors came armed with works priced at $25,000 and under—a cross-section of participating dealers came away satisfied. A spokesperson for James Cohan Gallery in New York relayed that “strong interest in, and an engaged audience for” the artists they featured led to positive takeaways from the fair, including “several” sales. Dealer Susan Inglett admitted “the virtual experience will never replace IRL—not as much fun, no personal connection, and no BBQ—but that being said, we ‘met’ some new folks, and that’s why we all go to art fairs!” In fact, Inglett was so encouraged by the event, where she found buyers for works by Robyn O’Neil and Hope Gangloff, that her gallery is now building out its own online viewing room.
The features of Dallas’s digital infrastructure received high marks from other dealers. Rob Dimin of New York’s Denny Dimin Gallery commended the organizers for doing “a really fantastic job in creating the virtual fair space… with enough room for extra content to contextualize the artists.” Julia Voloshyna of Voloshyn Gallery in Kiev, Ukraine also appreciated that the fair organized virtual tours of the show, which gave attendees a truer sense of the exhibitors and more “live contact with art” than a web interface alone. Overall, then, the fair seems to have laid a useful digital runway for the scheduled return of its physical fair in October.